Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: Ian Poulter in contention as Scott Jamieson and James Morrison lead

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Shane Lowry shakes Ian Poulter's hand
Shane Lowry (centre) and Ian Poulter both produced excellent rounds in tough conditions on day two in Abu Dhabi
-7: S Jamieson (Sco), J Morrison (Eng); -6: I Poulter (Eng), V Hovland (Nor)
-5: S Lowry (Ire), T Kanaya (Jap), T Pieters (Bel), A Bjory (Swe)
Selected others: -2 A Scott (Aus), D Whitnell (Eng) Level T Fleetwood (Eng) -1 T Hatton (Eng), +3 R McIlroy (NI)
Round two was completed on Saturday

Scotland’s Scott Jamieson retained the lead on day two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as Ian Poulter said he was “hanging on for dear life” in windy conditions in Abu Dhabi.

Jamieson shot a two-over 74 to slip back to seven under par.

He was joined on that mark by James Morrsion, the Englishman returning on Saturday morning to complete a 71.

Poulter sits one off the pace on six under after a gutsy level-par 72 on a day when 30mph gusts proved testing.

The 46-year-old told BBC Sport: “It was actually quite enjoyable in a sick kind of way. I just had to hang in there.”

He added: “It was like hanging on for dear life. When you feel the wind as strong as it was you’d have thought the ball would have been moving, but we didn’t have any balls moving on the greens, albeit I had to back off a couple of putts because you were getting blown around.”

Play was suspended because of fading light on Friday with a number of players forced to return on Saturday morning to complete their rounds.

Poulter is alongside Viktor Hovland on six under after the Norwegian player gave two shots away on day two.

McIlroy struggles and Lowry simplicity

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy will need to wait to see if he makes the cut in Abu Dhabi

The wind played havoc at Yas Links, with balls wobbling on the greens and groundsmen called in to use machinery in order to clear away sand that had been blown onto greens at the DP World Tour’s season-opener.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters are among a group on five under, along with Sweden’s Alexander Bjork, who drained a 102ft putt during his one-under-par round.

“I don’t love it, I’d prefer if it was calm but I know how to play in those conditions,” said Ireland’s Lowry of the wind.

“Because it’s in the wind I think about it a lot less and I just hit the shots I see and that’s what makes me so good in the wind.”

England’s defending champion Tyrrell Hatton was five over par for his second round – dropping three shots on his final two holes – to slip six shots off the lead.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy shot a 75 to sit on three over, with a birdie on the last ensuring he made the cut at three over.

The world number eight says he has “no idea” of where his game is at, having started the new season in such blustery conditions.

“It’s sort of hard to know as you are playing shots you haven’t practiced and you’re trying to get through as best you can,” McIlroy told BBC Sport.

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